“I have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and have a life expectancy of only twelve months”

Dear Mr. Oren,

Re: Disclosure of Cape documents and £10m mesothelioma research donation

I have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and have a life expectancy of only twelve months.

This shocking diagnosis, followed by the uncertainty of treatment and not knowing what the future may hold, has been extremely traumatic for me. I am especially concerned about what the future holds for my family especially as it has taken my opportunity to have a long term relationship with my two very young grandchildren.

This illness and effects from the limited treatment has taken most of my mobility and the
ability to complete everyday tasks. Mine and my wife’s retirement plan and dreams have
been completely destroyed. I will never come to terms with the knowledge that this disease was entirely preventable. If the warnings on the dangers of asbestos had been acted upon, I and thousands of others,
would never have had to endure the pain and suffering that asbestos related diseases cause.

To find out that Cape, one of the largest asbestos companies in the world, knowingly and deliberately withheld from the authorities the real danger of their asbestos products, for profit, has added to my trauma. This would never have come to light, but for the legal case taken by the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum (AVSGF) to force disclosure of Cape’s documents.

I am shocked and angry with Cape for putting so many lives at risk. Your company, Altrad, bought Cape in 2017 and has benefitted financially from the purchase of a very profitable company. From 2017 to 2020 Cape, at enormous cost, fought AVSGF in court to prevent disclosure of its historical documents, when you should have simply handed over the documents for public health reasons. Instead, you were prepared to pay excessive amounts in legal fees to defend the indefensible. The documents are significant for public health reasons because Cape Asbestolux was used in the construction of schools, hospitals and many other public buildings. These buildings are now deteriorating and school teachers, pupils, doctors, nurses and many others are being exposed to asbestos by simply being in those buildings. It is significant that the younger the age a person has been exposed to asbestos, the higher the risk that person is likely to develop mesothelioma.

The government estimates that there are about 7,500 deaths from asbestos diseases per year. This figure includes just over 2,500 deaths from mesothelioma. That is why AVSGF has campaigned for Altrad/Cape to honour its moral obligation to atone for the destruction of
so many lives by donating £10 million towards mesothelioma research. Yours is a multinational company with huge resources, still trading profitably. A significant donation for mesothelioma research would help restore your company’s reputation.

To date, you have refused to make such a donation.

My plea to you, is to agree to make the £10 million donation, as it would be transformational and give hope to many thousands of mesothelioma sufferers now and in the future. Perhaps it is too late for you to help me, but not for many others in the years to come.

Yours sincerely,
M Latimer